Applying with Eligibility Issues (criminal history)

  1. So I decided to join this forum and start this thread to give insight on the application process I went through. This is for those who are nursing students and those looking to apply to nursing school. I am a GN and I have a criminal history that dates back in 2000. It was a class C misdemeanor assault charge. I was 17 at the time of the incident. First, let me advise that if you can have it expunged then definitely do that. I was unable to have my charge expunged because the physical court record had been destroyed and the rest of it entered in the court computer system. The final verdict entered into the court computer was "not guilty".

    However, I ended up paying a small fine and according to the court it indicated admission of guilt. I lost my own court record of the charge because I never imagined needing it and I was not responsible and immature at 17. I remembered paying the $94 fine for a deferred disposition but the court computer system did not have that information listed. There were several reasons why I couldn't expunge it. Before I applied to nursing school, I informed my college about the charge and they were confident it wouldn't be an issue for me. I should also add that I have never been arrested. I was accepted into nursing school and I completed three core semesters.

    During fourth semester, I was concerned when I received information about applying for the board exam. You are required to claim any eligibility issue. I was always told that it is more frowned upon if they find an issue that was not claimed versus one that was. I decided to complete a declaratory order. I submitted my declaratory order in October while everyone else was completing their license applications. I filled it out completely but I was very worried because there was a possibility of rejection. I also read on this forum about how my case could be sent to the enforcement department at the TX BON for a fee of $150. Also, that would delay my application process for 3 to 6 months.

    The TX BON took every bit of 3 months to process my declaratory order and criminal background check. I received their decision approximately two weeks before my graduation mid December. The BON decided that I would be able to sit for the nclex-RN. Immediately, I rushed to fill out my initial licence application. The BON didn't receive my application until the day of my graduation. My school was unable to electronically submit my affidavit of graduation because my application hadn't been processed and wouldn't be until after the holidays or January 1st. I had already been hired on at a local hospital as a GN and was set to start training on January 6th. I couldn't do actual patient care without a GN permit but I was able to start the orientation and education process.

    The TX BON was really good about answering my questions. If you call them they will give you specific time frames. They had 15 business days to process my application. My application was processed on January 8th. From there, they had 15 days, after receiving my affidavit of graduation, to issue my ATT. My school submitted it electronically on the 8th, as soon as I informed them my application was processed. I received my ATT via email yesterday and my GN permit starts today. Reading through this forum was really helpful in easing my nerves and giving me an idea of what I could do. I am a firm believer in prayer and I called on Jesus several times throughout this process. It can be very stressful. I reminded myself to post this as soon as I got my ATT and I will try to follow up by answering any questions.
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  3. by   NurseGirl525
    That's great. I don't think a misdemeanor that occurred when you were 17 would have been an issue anyway. I'm surprised that since you were a minor it wasn't sealed. I think the main things the board is worried about is felonies and drug charges. I can understand being nervous as it would me too and I think you did the right thing I would just check into the fact that why a juvenile record wouldn't be sealed. Just something I am curious about.
  4. by   windsurfer8
    Sealed, expunged....all that stuff still exists. These crimes people commit whether right or wrong will have always play into the future. What I try to explain to people is that life is hard enough..when you put your name into the court system you are now making it even harder. That said I am glad it worked out and good luck!
  5. by   BCSNurse
    In Texas, your adult record starts at 17. It's odd, I know. I tried to have it sealed but was told that it didn't even qualify for juvenile court since I was 17.
  6. by   BCSNurse
    windsurfer8, I agree. However, expunged records give you the legal right to deny the offense ever happened. They cannot question you or use something against you that has been legally destroyed. Plus, I'd highly doubt the BON would want to defend themselves in court for denying someone over an expunged offense. They have to operate within the boundaries of the law too.
  7. by   kaydensmom01
    Quote from Heathermaizey
    That's great. I don't think a misdemeanor that occurred when you were 17 would have been an issue anyway. I'm surprised that since you were a minor it wasn't sealed. I think the main things the board is worried about is felonies and drug charges. I can understand being nervous as it would me too and I think you did the right thing I would just check into the fact that why a juvenile record wouldn't be sealed. Just something I am curious about.
    Expunged, sealed, ect. does not exist when applying for a nursing license. I had to report a juvenile offense from when I was 14- underage drinking. I had to tell the BON about an assault charge from when I was 16- and in my state when you are charged as a juvenile you are not actually "charged" with anything, but you still have to report it to the BON.

    OP, I am glad that the Texas BON was helpful, but Ohio's BON sure is not. I graduated in May and when I hadn't heard anything from the BON in October I called just to see if I could find out any information. The receptionist was very nice and told me that she was going to transfer my call and that I probably wouldn't get anyone on the line but the answering machine would tell me what to do.The answering machine basically told me to F-off, "do not call us about a case, do not e-mail us, we will contact you".

    I knew that I would have to wait longer than everyone else, but it has still been an emotional roller-coaster and exhausting. My school told me that I would be okay and that I was worrying for nothing, but I knew better because I did my own research and I hired a lawyer against their advice. I graduated in May and did not hear anything from the BON until the end of October. They required me to see a psychiatric evaluator, which was expected and fine but I didn't expect the evaluator to be 7 hrs away or cost $3000. The evaluation went good, and I am just waiting now hoping that I get a decision from the BON. They meet every other month, and their meeting is today and yesterday so I hope by this time next month that I hear something from them. The worst part is worrying about taking the NCLEX as I will have been out of school for 9 months soon and I am now not sure if I will pass it now.

    My main point being do your research and don't listen to what "others" tell you. This journey has been very difficult, but I'm sure it would have been much more difficult if I listened to everyone and didn't know what I was getting myself in to. As another poster said, once your name is in the court system it is in it and usually must be reported to the BON or is considered falsifying the application. When you go to nursing school with a "criminal" history you should understand that there is a possibility that you will be denied a license. I knew that and worried about every day since I started pre-req's for nursing school, but regardless it has been worth it to me.

    OP, I am very happy that you had such a great experience and will be a nurse soon!
  8. by   Esme12
    Welcome to AN! The largest online nursing community!

    thread moved for best response...this is a moderated forum so there may be some delay in responses
  9. by   windsurfer8
    Good luck with that if you want to be in the military or other government jobs. They see the original charge. Always.
  10. by   vampiregirl
    I would encourage you to be honest about the charges in regards to future applications and interviews. As a hiring manager I am very reluctant to hire someone who indicates no criminal history on the their applications and then provides me with an explanation after I receive the background check. I am much more likely to hire someone who was honest with me up front. If someone falsifies a response on an application, it makes me wonder what other documentation they would falsify.

    In Indiana, our law is very clear which crimes/ time frames preclude employment in the healthcare field. That being said, LTC cares for vulnerable individuals that their families trust us to care for. I have an obligation to ensure I am hiring individuals who do not have a history that indicates that they could prey on our residents. Repeated charges/ arrests are a red flag to me.

    I also have several employees who had difficulty finding employment due to their criminal history (but were eligible to work in the healthcare field). They all very upfront with the facts, supported by court documents when I inquired at the interview. In a couple of cases I (in consultation with my DON) put ongoing checks (repeat background checks, random drug testing etc) in place. Strict confidentiality of the additional checks is maintained - only the DON, myself and the individual know they exist.

    Know what? I have had absolutely no issues with these employees, in most cases they are grateful to have a job and it shows in their performance